Sandra Ávila Beltrán: The Queen of the Pacific claims royalties from Netflix and Telemundo for ‘La Reina del Sur’

Sandra Ávila, in a promotional image of the book ‘The Queen of the Pacific: it’s time to tell’, her biography written by Julio Scherer.

Sandra Ávila Beltrán, known as the Queen of the Pacific, has filed an appeal against Netflix and Telemundo for the alleged use of her image without consent in the television series La Reina del Sur. This is how the Mexican media Milenio has advanced this Sunday. The woman, known for being the femme fatale of Mexican drug trafficking in the eighties, claims from content platforms up to 40% of the profits obtained from the audiovisual production starring Kate del Castillo and based on the homonymous novel by Arturo Pérez- reverse. “It is a direct affectation to her image,” she said in an interview with the Israel Razo Reyes news channel, Ávila Beltrán’s lawyer. According to the defender, this is the first step for the two companies to pay the woman for the damages caused by the television series.

The first legal movement of the Queen of the Pacific, currently 61 years old, was to open an administrative process in the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) for the use of her image without her consent. A move that will serve as a basis, as explained by the lawyer, to be able to go before the Mexican justice and sue the content platforms for damages from the improper exploitation of her image. “Living with the nickname of drug trafficker is very difficult”, Razo Reyes said in the interview with Milenio, “now, the lady has always been acquitted in all the appeals and criminal proceedings that she has faced”.

Ávila Beltrán has been free since February 2015 after spending seven years incarcerated in the United States. She was arrested on February 28, 2007, along with her partner, Juan Diego Espinosa, alias El Tigre, as they left a Vips restaurant in Mexico City. For years she had been persecuted by the US and Mexican authorities. She was linked to the most important drug traffickers and was accused of being part of the drug trafficking networks between the two countries, but her power in the world of the biggest drug lords could never really be proven in court. In the United States she reached a judicial agreement and in Mexico she was released after a judge revoked the only sentence against her, one for money laundering.

The actress Kate del Castillo, in a promotional image of the telenovela ‘La Reina del Sur’.Cuartoscuro

In freedom, Ávila Beltrán now seeks to capitalize on his history. There is no calculation of how much money represents 40% of the earnings of La Reina del Sur, explained Razo Reyes. “It is not a public figure.” The television series, with two seasons available on Netflix, was produced and distributed by Telemundo. The production came to light in May 2011, with scenes recorded mostly in Spain and Mexico. That first season, with 60 episodes, had a budget of 10 million dollars, which made it the most expensive ever produced by Telemundo. Since its premiere, the television version of Pérez-Reverte’s novel has triumphed on American television with an average audience of almost two and a half million viewers.

The series deals with the story of Teresa Mendoza, a woman of humble origins who ends up becoming a drug trafficking legend. What Ávila Beltrán demands from the two companies is that aspects of her life, her career and her anecdotes have been used as the basis for the series’ plot. An example given by the lawyer for the Queen of the Pacific was that they used the arrest and subsequent transfer to the United States that the woman suffered in 2015, which she said, to be replicated in television production.

The lawyer for the Queen of the Pacific has also assured that Ávila Beltrán’s legal procedure is similar to the one carried out by Gael García Bernal against the Johnnie Walker whiskey brand. A case that reached the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice, which agreed with the actor and established that the company pay compensation for damages arising from not respecting image rights and using his face and that of his family in 2011 in a campaign called “Walking with Giants”.

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